Sight Search

Tonga’s Gentle Giants

CREDITS | Text and Images By Vanessa Mignon

My heart raced with excitement as I swam slowly toward two giants resting at the surface. I felt overwhelmed with joy because I was about to meet a mother humpback whale and her young calf.

I had traveled to the Kingdom of Tonga, a South Pacific archipelago between New Zealand and Samoa. A strong culture, an unspoiled landscape, deserted sandy beaches, spectacular limestone cliffs, underwater caves and lush forests are among the many reasons to visit Tonga. Its main tourism draw, however, is the possibility of swimming with charismatic humpback whales.
Type your new text here.
Among the largest animals on the planet, humpback whales measure about 49 feet long and weigh about 35 tons on average. The humps near the front of their dorsal fins, the distinctive knobbly protuberances on their heads, and their beautifully long pectoral fins make them easy to identify. The fins, combined with the area in which scientists first described them, earned them their scientific name, Megaptera novaeangliae, meaning “large- or great-winged New Englander.”

Humpbacks feed in polar waters during the summer and then migrate to tropical or subtropical waters to breed during winter. Various locations offer seasonal whale-watching, but swimming with them is legal in only a few places — Tonga is one of them. Every year its warm and sheltered waters provide a nursery for the whales, which gather there between July and October after a long migration from Antarctica.

Tonga was not always a safe place for humpbacks. Whalers hunted them there for decades until 1978, when King Tāufa‘āhau Tupou IV declared a moratorium on all whaling within the kingdom’s waters — a decision that probably saved the Tonga humpback subpopulation. The government issued the first tourism license for whale swimming in 1993, and since then thousands of people have traveled there from all over the world hoping for the experience of a lifetime with the majestic giants.

Swimming with whales has strict guidelines, and only licensed operators can offer in-water activities. Key regulations include that only four clients and one trained local guide per certified boat may be in the water with any single pod of whales at a time and swimmers cannot approach any whale closer than 16.4 feet (5 meters).

Only one licensed vessel at a time may put swimmers in the water with any single pod of whales. Some operators might agree to share so that all clients have a chance to experience an in-water encounter. The maximum interaction time of any vessel with any individual pod of whales that includes a mother and a calf is one and a half hours unless they have a Special Interaction Permit. After any 90-minute interaction, no boat may attempt to interact with the pod for another 90 minutes, ensuring that the animals get a break.
Strict regulations are in place to ensure safe and respectful interactions between the whales and swimmers.
I have been fortunate to travel to Tonga many times since 2007. People often ask me why I keep going back, but there aren’t adequate words to convey what it is like to be in the water with humpback whales. Swimming with them was truly life-changing. It gave me a sense of peace that I had never experienced, and it humbled me that the gentle giants would be so tolerant of us. After hundreds of swims, I still feel overwhelmed each time and remain amazed by their size, inquisitive nature and level of consciousness.

I’ve also observed the powerful impact the whales have on other people. I have seen individuals weep with joy. Some go quiet for hours, deeply touched by the encounter, while others get so excited that they won’t stop talking about it.

Over the years I have been privileged to observe amazing interactions that will forever remain imprinted on my memory. One of those unforgettable encounters was with a calf we named Snowy because of his pale skin. He was curious and determined to play with us slow, tiny humans. We had spotted the mother and calf pair from quite a distance as they were breaching. The mother effortlessly and gracefully leaped out of the water, but her calf was not so elegant and still in training. His clumsy and uncoordinated attempts to breach were a delight to watch.
Snowy kept rolling in front of us, always maintaining eye contact.
After they stopped and seemed to settle, we quietly entered the water and started swimming slowly toward them. The calf left his mother and came charging at us as soon as he saw us in the water. Remember, this is not a small baby — it’s about 15 feet long and weighs more than a ton. Having a humpback calf chase you can be intimidating, especially since they tend to lack spatial awareness.

Our time in the water was magical and exhilarating, as Snowy kept circling us, rolling and swimming on his back while always maintaining eye contact. I spent most of the swim laughing as I tried to capture pictures of this playful little one. My wide-angle lens was not wide enough to accommodate such a close encounter, so I could often photograph only part of him.

Humpback mothers can be very protective of their calves and usually stay quite close, so I kept an eye on her while interacting with her calf. Surprisingly, this mother rested motionless below us for most of the swim. I suspect her trust resulted from previous respectful approaches by people, or perhaps she was enjoying time off while we kept her boisterous calf occupied.
A curious calf comes in for a closer look.
Another exceptional experience was with five adult whales engaging in a slow-motion heat run. Heat runs can be aggressive, as several males race and compete for the attention of a female. Operators need to carefully assess heat runs before allowing swimmers in the water. If safe drops are possible, they usually last only a few seconds as the animals swim past. But that day was quite different — the whales were swimming relatively slowly compared to usual and at times would change direction and come back toward us. It felt like I was training for the Olympics, but we never managed to get closer than about 30 feet during the hour we spent with them.

It was extraordinary to watch their behavior underwater. Initially, the males were mainly chasing after the female. They would speed up, cut in front of each other and blow curtains of bubbles, possibly to confuse their opponents and hide as they tried to escape with the female. The competition escalated quickly, however, as power and chaos replaced speed and deception. It became a battle of titans in which the males displayed their strength by headbutting and tail-slapping each other. One slap was powerful enough to resonate to where we were. The recipient was swimming on his side, and we saw his throat grooves shake when the other whale struck him. I felt the impact’s vibrations in the water. The whale that had just been hit continued racing as if nothing had happened, driven by the urge to reproduce.

All the whales suddenly dived in unison and disappeared for several minutes. I don’t know what happened in the deep blue, but it ended the chase. When the whales eventually reappeared more than 300 feet away, their pace had slowed significantly, and the group quickly separated afterward except for two whales that swam away together — probably the female and her chosen suitor.
Escorts can be male or female and often accompany mothers and calves.
Swimming during a whale song is also fascinating. It is difficult to describe the mix of varied high-pitched moaning and grunting sounds that humpbacks produce. Only hearing and feeling the song underwater does full justice to its mesmerizing and haunting beauty. It is a long vocalization, among the most complex in the animal kingdom, and produced in organized patterns only by males. They may sing for several hours at a time, repeating the same song over and over.

Because whales usually sing most often during the breeding season, researchers believe the complex songs play a role in attracting females or establishing dominance between males. We are still attempting to understand whales’ singing during other times. All the males in a humpback population will sing the same song; if the song changes over time, they all will apply the same changes — proof that learning and transmission are happening among the males. Apart from being music to your ears, whale songs can be quite a physical experience. When positioned near a singer, you can feel the vibrations in your body.

My all-time highlight was a swim with two courting whales 10 years ago. That day our swim attempts had been unsuccessful — we had seen many whales, but none of them seemed interested. On the way back to the harbor, however, we suddenly saw big splashes in the distance as two adults rolled at the surface and slapped their long pectoral fins. I prefer to observe whales underwater, but watching them from a boat always gives a different perspective of size and sound. We could hear them breathe, and the rhythmic sound of their fins splashing the water was captivating.
Humpbacks are known for their spectacular breaching.
They eventually stopped to dive, so we entered the water and swam toward where we last saw them. The pair was there, gliding slowly underneath us and pirouetting around each other, meeting and separating as if performing an underwater ballet. I am always amazed by humpbacks’ gentle and precise movements despite their size. One of the whales suddenly ascended straight in front of me less than 10 feet away and stopped there, clearly looking at me. The overwhelming feeling when looking into a whale’s eye and knowing that it is looking back and acknowledging you is unrivaled. It’s a moment in time that will remain vivid in my mind forever.

I have many other treasured memories, and I am lucky that my trips to Tonga have been rich with unforgettable interactions. It is essential, however, to appreciate that swimming with whales is a privilege. It requires patience and luck, and as with any wildlife experience, there is no guarantee that an interaction will happen. Some days the weather is too rough for us to get out on the boat, and some days the whales are not willing to allow us in the water with them. On most days you will spend hours looking for them.
Looking into a whale’s eye and knowing that it’s looking back at you is overwhelming.
Remember that the whales travel to Tonga to mate, give birth and care for their calves. The migration is more than 3,700 miles and takes several months. While migrating and staying in the birthing grounds, there is little or no available food, so whales survive by metabolizing the stored energy in their blubber. Mothers can lose up to one-third of their body weight during the migration and their stay in Tonga. It’s demanding and exhausting to protect, nurture and feed their babies in preparation for their long trip back to Antarctica.

The Tonga humpback population is still relatively small and has not recovered as fully as other humpback populations. Estimates are that whalers killed more than 200,000 humpbacks in the Southern Hemisphere in the 20th century. Antarctic whaling reduced breeding stocks E and F, the subpopulations that breed in Tonga, New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa and Niue, and the population is now in the low thousands.

While you are in the water with humpback whales, it is vital that you are respectful and do not affect their behavior and well-being. Doing so will ensure that you and other visitors have an experience like no other.
An aerial view of Tonga’s islands and coral reefs
How to Dive It

Getting there: Tonga’s borders closed quickly after the pandemic started, so check travel advisories for the current status. Before COVID-19, you could get to Tonga via Sydney, Auckland or Fiji. From the U.S., flights leave from Los Angeles and connect through Fiji. Most international flights arrive at Fua‘amotu International Airport, Tongatapu, but a few direct flights happen weekly between Fiji and Vava‘u. If your whale-swimming adventure takes place in Vava‘u, Ha‘apai or ‘Eua, you can take a domestic flight on Lulutai Airlines.

Allow plenty of time between your domestic flight’s arrival time and your international flight’s departure for your return trip. Domestic flights occasionally get delayed or canceled due to weather, causing missed international connections.

I recommend carrying all your essentials with you, including your camera housing. Luggage delays due to being over the weight limit are not uncommon. It’s also good to have travel insurance to cover medical expenses, repatriation, flight delays and cancellations, and lost luggage.

Where to stay: 

Tonga is home to about 170 islands divided into three major groups: Tongatapu and ‘Eua in the south, Ha‘apai in the middle and Vava‘u in the north. The northernmost tip is the small Niua island group. Tourism infrastructure and whale-swimming conditions vary depending on the location. Staying on the main island, Tongatapu, for your whale experience will save you time and money because you won’t have to take a domestic flight to another destination, and far fewer operators are on the water. Your best option for hotels and activities is in the capital, Nuku‘alofa.

Most travelers prefer to take the one-hour flight to popular Vava‘u, the hub for whale swimming. Vava‘u is a scenic location with deeper waters and the possibility of seeing other pelagic species. The influx of tourists during the whale season has resulted in a wide choice of restaurants and accommodations to fit all budgets. The main town of Neiafu is a popular option, but quieter, more secluded resorts are located on the outer islands. The downside is there are many whale-swimming boats, increasing pressure on the whales. In the past few years, queueing for a whale has become more common.

There are fewer boats in Ha‘apai, where the tourism infrastructure is less developed than in Vava‘u. The waters are shallower, and the visibility is usually not as good. It is also flatter and more exposed to the weather. The most accessible islands in Ha‘apai are Lifuka, Foa and Uoleva.

When to go: 
The whales arrive in Tonga in mid to late June, and you can typically observe them until early October. The timing varies, so August and September are usually more reliable for whale encounters. These winter months can have strong winds, so have warm clothes and a spray jacket on the boat. Water temperature in August and September is usually in the mid-70°F range.

It is essential to book your whale-swimming tours with licensed operators. Their crews are trained on regulations and best practices to use when approaching the whales, and their boat and safety equipment are suitable.

Booking for several days will maximize your chances of good swims and opportunities to see different behaviors. Three days is a good minimum, but five or seven days will be better if your budget allows. There is no guarantee you will swim with whales, and any operator who tells you otherwise may not follow ethical practices. Allow a few extra days at the end of your trip in case your allocated whale-swimming days are postponed due to weather or
other reasons.

Only four people and a guide are allowed in the water with the whales at any given time, so joining a small group will limit the rotations and maximize your time in the water. It is a snorkeling experience; scuba equipment and strobes are not allowed.

Note to photographers: 
Tonga is remote and doesn’t have a photography shop or support. Make sure your equipment is in perfect working order before going to Tonga. If you stay on an outer island, charging equipment might be available only at certain times of the day, so be sure to have spare batteries and memory cards in case you cannot charge or download daily. Drones are allowed, but talk to a licensed operator at the time of booking to determine the current permit requirements.

Categories

 2021
 April
Aqua Pool Noodle ExercisesUnderwater Photographer and DAN Member Madelein Wolfaardt10 Simple Things You Can Do to Improve Your Underwater PhotographyCOVID-19 and Diving: March 2021 UpdateDiver Return After COVID-19 Infection (DRACO): A Longitudinal AssessmentGuidelines for Lifelong Medical Fitness to DiveExperienceFitness Myth or Fitness Fact?The Safety of Sports for Athletes With Implantable Cardioverter-DefibrillatorsCardiovascular Fitness and DivingHypertensionPatent Foramen Ovale (PFO)Headaches and DivingMiddle-Ear Barotrauma (MEBT)O’Neill Grading SystemMask Squeeze (Facial Barotrauma)Sinus BarotraumaInner-Ear Barotrauma (IEBT)Middle-Ear EqualisationAlternobaric VertigoDecompression IllnessOn-Site Neurological ExaminationTreating Decompression Sickness (The Bends)Top 5 Factors That Increase Your Risk of the BendsHow to Avoid Rapid Ascents and Arterial Gas EmbolismUnintended Rapid Ascent Due to Uncontrolled InflationUnexpected Weight LossFlying After DivingWisdom Tooth Extraction and DivingYour Lungs and DivingScuba Diving and DiabetesDiving after COVID-19: What We Know TodaySwimmer’s Ear (Otitis Externa)Motion SicknessFitness for DivingDiving After Bariatric SurgeryWhen to Consult a Health-Care Provider Before Engaging in Physical ActivitiesFinding Your FitnessHealth Concerns for Divers Over 50Risk Factors For Heart DiseaseJuggling Physical Exercise and DivingSeasickness Prevention and TreatmentMember to Member: Guidelines for SeniorsHigh-Pressure OphthalmologyOver-the-Counter Medications
immersion and bubble formation AGE Accident management Accidents Acid reflux Acute ailments Aerobic exercise After anaesthesia Aged divers Air Quality Air exchange centre Air hose failure Air supply Airway control Air Alert Diver Magazine Alternative gas mix Altitude changes Altitude diving Altitude sickness Aluminium Oxide Ama divers Amino acids Anaerobic Metabolism Animal life Annual renewal Apnea Apnoea Aquatic life Aquatics and Scuba Diving Archaeology Argon Arterial Gas Embolisms Arterial gas embolism Arthroscopic surgery Aspirin Audible signals Aurel hygiene Australian Flat backed BCD BHP BLS BWARF Back adjustment Back pain Back treatment Backextensors Badages Bag valve mask Bahamas Balancing Bandaids Barbell back squat Barometric pressure Barotrauma Basic Life Support Batteries Beach entry Becky Kagan Schott Bench press Benign prostate hyperplasia Benzophenones Beth Neale Beyond Standards Bilikiki Tours Biophysics Black Blood flow Blood thinners Blue Desert Blue Wilderness Blue economy Blurred vision Boat safety Boesmans gat Boesmansgat Bone fractures Bouyancy compensators Bouyancy controls Boyle's Law Boyle\'s Law Bradycardia Brain Brandon Cole Breast Cancer Breath Hold Diving Breath holding Breath hold Breath-hold Breathing Gas Breathing gas contamination Breathing Breathold diving Bright Bank Broken bones Bruising Bubbleformation Buddy Exercise Buddy checks Buoyancy Burnshield CGASA CMAS CO2 COVID-19 Updates COVID-19 COVID CPR Cabin pressure Caissons diseas California Camera equipment Camera settings Cameras Cancer Remission Cancer treatments Cancer Cannabis and diving Cannabis Cape Town Dive Festival Cape Town Dive Sites Cape Town CapeTown Carbon Monoxide Carbon dioxide Cardiac research Cardio health Cardiological Cardiomyopathy Caribbean Carmel Bay Catalina Island Cave diving Challenging Environments Chamber Safety Chamber science Charging batteries Charles' Law Charles\' Law Charles\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' Law Charlie Warland Chemotherapy Chest compressions Children diving Chiropractic Chlorophll Christina Mittermeier Citizen Conservation Cleaning products Closed Circuit Rebreathers Cmmunity partnership Coastal diving Coastalexcursion Cold Water Cold care ColdWater Cold Commercial Fishing Commercial diving Commercial schools Composition Compressed Air Compressed gas Consercation Conservation Photographer Conservation photography Conservation Contact lenses Contaminants Contaminated air Coral Conservation Coral Reefs Coral Restoration Coral bleaching CoralGroupers Corals Core strength Corona virus Coro Costamed Chamber Courtactions Cozumel Cristina Mittermeier Crohns disease Crowns Crystal build up Crystallizing hoses Cutaneous decompression Cylinder Ruptures Cylinder handwheel Cylinder valves DAN Courses DAN Profile DAN Researchers DAN medics DAN members DAN report DCI DCS Decompressions sickness DCS theories DCS DEMP DM training DNA DReams Dalton's Law Dalton\'s Law Dalton\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Law Danel Wenzel Dangerous Marinelife Dauin island Dean's Blue Hole Dean\'s Blue Hole Deco dives Decompression Illness Decompression Sickness Decompression Stress Decompression illsnes Decompression treatment Decompression Decorator crabs Deep diving Deep water exploration Deepest SCUBA Dive Delayed Offgassing Dental Dever Health Diaphragms Diopter Diseases Disinfection Dive Buddy Dive Chamber Dive Computer Dive Destinations Dive H Dive Industry Dive Instruction Dive Instructor Dive Medical Form Dive Medical Dive Practices Dive Pros Dive Research Dive Safety Tips Dive South Africa Dive Training Dive Travel Wakatobi Dive Travel Dive accidents Dive buddies Dive computers Dive courses Dive excursions Dive exercise Dive exeriences Dive experience Dive fitness Dive gear Dive heallth Dive health Dive medicals Dive medicines Dive medicine Dive operators Dive opportunities Dive planning Dive procedures Dive safety 101 Dive safety Dive safe Dive skills Dive staff Dive travels DiveLIVE Diveleader training Diveleaders Diver Health Diver Profile Diver infliencers Diver on surface Diver recall Diverover 50 Divers Alert Diversafety Divesites Diving Divas Diving Kids Diving Programs Diving Trauma Diving career Diving emergencies Diving emergency management Diving fit Diving guidelines Diving injuries Diving suspended Diving Dizziness Dolphins Domestic Donation Doug Perrine Dowels Dr Rob Schneider Drift diving Drysuit diving Drysuit valves Drysuits Dyperbaric medicines EAPs EAP Ear pressure Ear wax Ears injuries Eco friendly Education Electronic Emergency action planning Emergency decompression Emergency plans Emergency underwater Oxygen Recompression Emergency Envenomations Enviromental Protection Environmental factors Environmental impact Environmental managment Equalisation Equipment care Equipment failure Equipment inspection Evacuations Evacuation Evaluations Even Breath Exercise Exercising Exhaustion Exposure Protection Extended divetime Extinguisher Extreme treatments Eye injuries FAQ Factor V Leiden Failures FalseBay Diving Fatigue Faulty equipment Female divers Fetus development Fillings Fire Coral Fire Safety Firefighting First Aid Equipment First Aid Kit First Aid Training First Aid kits First Aid Fish Identification Fish Life Fish Fit to dive Fitness Levels Fitness Training Fitness evaluation Fitness to dive Fitnesstrainng Fitness Flying Focus lights Foundations Fractures Francesca Diaco Francois Burman Fredive Free Student cover Free diving Free flow Freedive INstructor Freedive Training Freediver Freediving Instructors Freediving performance Freediving Gar Waterman Gas Density Gas consumption Gas laws Gas mixes GasPerformance Gases Gass bubbles Gastoeusophagus Gastric bypass Gastroenterologist Gear Servicing Germs Geyer Bank Giant Kelp Forest Giant Kelp Girls that Scba Gobies Gordon Hiles Great White Sharks Green sea turtle Greenlings Guinness World Record Gutt irritations HCV HELP HIRA HMLI HMS Britanica Haemorhoid treatment Hand signals Hawaii Hawksbill Hazard Description Hazardous Marine life Hazardous marinelife Headaches Health practitioner Heart Attack Heart Health Heart Rate monitor Heart fitness Heart rates Heart rate Heart Heat stress Heliox Helium Hepatitis C Hepatitus B Hiatal Hernia High Pressure vessels High temperatures Hip strength Hip surgery Hippocampus History Hot Humans Hydrate Hydration Hydrogen Hydroids Hydrostatic pressure Hygiene Hyperbaric Chamber Hyperbaric Oxygen Hyperbaric research Hyperbarics Hypothermia Hypoxia I-52 found INclusivity IdentiFin Imaging Immersion Immine systems In Water Recompression Indemnity form Indian Ocean Indigo SCuba Indonesia Inert gas Infections Infra red Imaging Injections Inner ear Instinct Instruction Instructors Insurance Integrated Physiology International travel International Internship programs Internship Interval training Irritation Irukandji Syndrome Isotta housing Jellyfish Joint pain Junior Open Water Diver KZN South Coast Karen van den Oever Kate Jonker KateJonker Kidneys Kids scubadiver Komati Springs KwaZulu Natal Labour laws Lake Huron Laryngospasm Lauren Arthur Learning to dive Leatherback Legal Network Legal advice Legislation Lembeh Straights Lenses Leukemis Liability Risks Liability releases Liability Life expectancy Lifestyle Lightroom editing Lionfish Live aboard diving Liver Toxicity Liver diseas Liz Louw Lost at sea Low blood pressure Low pressure deterioration Low volume masks Lumpsuckers Lung Irritation Lung function Lung injuries Lung squeeze Lung surgery Lung MOD Macro photography Maintenance Malaria Mammalian Dive Response Mammalian effect Mandarin Fish Marine Biology Marine Science Marine Scientists Marine conservation Marine parks Marine plants Marinelife Marinescience Masks Master scuba diver Maximum operating depth Medical Q Medical emergencies Medical questionaire Medical statement Medicalresearch Medicalstudents Medication Mehgan Heaney-Grier Membership benefits Menopause Menstruation Mermaid Danii Mesophotic Michael Aw Middle ear pressure Mike Bartick Military front press Misool Resort Raja Ampat Mixed Gas Mono Fins Mooring lines More pressure Motion sickness Motionsickness Mozambique Muscle pain Mycobacterium marinum National Geographic Nausea Nautilus Ndibranchs Neck pain Neoprene layers Neuro assessments Neurocognitive research Neurological assessments Nichola Bird Nitrogen Narcosis Nitrogen build up Nitrox No-decompression Non-nano zinc oxide Non-rebreather Mask Nonrebreather masks Normal Air North Sulawesi Nosebleeds Nuno Gomes O2 providers O2 servicing OOxygen maintenance Ocean Projects Ocean Research Ocean animals Ocean pollution Octopus Oil contamination Olive Ridley Open Ocean Open water divers Optical focus Oral contraseptives Orbital implants Oronasal mask Osteonecrosis Out and about Out of air Outer ears Outreach Overhead Envirenments Oxygen Administration Oxygen Cylinder Oxygen Units Oxygen deficit Oxygen deicit Oxygen dificiency Oxygen ears Oxygen equipment Oxygen masks Oxygen providers Oxygen supplies Oxygen supply Oxygen systems Oxygen therapy Oxygen P J Prinsloo PADI Freedivers PFI PFO PJP Tech Paralysis Parentalsupervision Part 3 Partner Training Patent foramen ovale Perspective Peter Lindholm Philippine Islands Philippines Phillipines Photographers Photography tips Photography Physical Fitness Physioball Physiology Physiotherapy Pills Pilot Whale Pistons Planning Plastic Plimsoll Interface Pneumonia Pneumothorax Poison Pollution Pool Diving Pool workout Post-dive Potuguese man-of-war Pre-dive Predive check Pregnancy Pregnant divers Preparation Prepared diver Press Release Preventions Professional rights Provider course Psycological Pulmanologist Pulmonary Barotrauma Pulmonary Bleb Pulmonary Edema Pulse Punture wounds Pure Apnea Purge RAID South Africa RCAP REEF Radio communications Range of motion Rashes Rebreather diving Rebreatherdive Rechargeable batteries. Recompression chamber Recompression treatment Recompression Recycle Reef Chcek Reef Conservation Reef safe Reef surveyors Refractive correction Regulator failure Regulators Regulator Remote areas Remote islands Renewable Report incidents Rescue Divers Rescue Procedure Rescue breathing Rescue breaths Rescue skill Rescue training Rescue Research Resume diving Return To Diving Return to diving Risk Assessments Risk assesments Risk assessment Risk elements Risk management Roatan Marine Park Roatan SABS 019 SMB SafariLive Safety Gear Safety Stop Safety SaherSafe Barrier Salish Seas Salty Wanderer Sanitising Sara Andreotti Sardine Run Saturation Diving Save our seas Schrimps Science Scombroid Poisoning Scorpion Fish Scuba Air Quality Scuba Guru Scuba Injury Scuba Instructor Scuba children Scuba divers Scuba dive Scuba education Scuba health Scubalearners Scubalife Sea Horses Sea Turtles Sea slugs Seagrass Sealife Seasickness Seaweed Sea Shallow dives Shark Protection Shark Research Shark conservation Shark diving Sharks Shipwrecks Shore entries Shoulder strength Sideplank Signs and Symptoms Sit-ups Sixgill Sharks Skin Bends Skin outbreak Skin rash Snells Window Snorkeling Snorkels Social Distancing Sodwana Bay Solomon Islands Sonnier bank South Africa Sperm Whales Spinal Bend Spinal bends Spinal cord DCS Spinal pain Spinner dolphins Splits Squeezes Squid Run Stability exercise Standars Stay Fit Stents Step ups Stephen Frink Stepping up Strobe Lighting Stroke Submerge tech Submerged Sudafed Sulawesi Sun protection Sunscreen Supplemental oxygen Surface Marker Buoys Surface supplied Air Surfaced Surgeries Surgery Suspension training Swim Fitness SwimmingIn wateractivities Swimming Symbiosis TRavel safety Tabata protocol Talya Davidoff Tattoes Tec Clark Technical Diving Technical divng The Bends The greatest Shoal The truth Thermal Notions Thermoregulation Thomas Peschak Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Tides Tips and trick Tonga Tooth squeeze Transplants Travel destinations Travel smarter Travel tips Travel Tropical Coastal Management Tunnelling Turtles Tweezers Ultrsound Umkomaas Unconsciousness Underground work Underseaa world Underwaater Photos Underwater Photographer Manirelife Underwater Research Underwater floral Gardens Underwater hockey Underwater photographer Underwater photography Underwater pho Underwater sound Underwatercommunications Underwater University of Stellenbosch Urinary retention. Vacations Vaccines Vagus nerve Valsalva manoeuvers Valve stem seals Vape Vaping Vasopressors Vasvagal Syncope Venting Verna van Schak Virus infections Volatile fuels WWII wrecks War stories Washout treatments Wastewater Watchman device Water Resistance Water Weakness Weigang Xu Weights West Papua Western Cape Diving Wet Lenses Wet diving bell Wetsuit fitting Wetsuites Wetsuits White balance Whitetpped Sharks Wide Angle Photos Wide angles Wildlife Winter Wits Underwater Club Wolf Eels Woman and diving Woman in diving Womans health Woman Women In Diving SA Women and Diving Women in diving Womens Month Womens health Work of Breathing Workout World Deeepst Dive Record World Records Wound dressings Wreck divers Wreck dive Wreck diving Wreckdiving Wrecks Yoga Youth diver Zandile Ndholvu Zoology Zooplankton abrasion absolute pressure acoustic neuroma excision adverse seas air-cushioned alert diver altitude alveolar walls anemia antibiotics anticoagulants antiseptics bandages barodontalgia bent-over barbell rows bioassays biodiversity bloodcells body art breathing air calories burn carbon dioxide toxicity cardiovascular career developments cerebrospinal fluid cervical spine checklist chemo port children child chronic obstructive pulmonary disease clearances closed circuit scuba corrective lenses currents cuts dead lift decompression algorithms decongestants decongestion dehydration dive injuries dive medicing dive ready child dive reflex dive tribe diver in distress diver rescue diver training dive diving attraction doctors domestic travel dri-suits drowning dry mucous membranes dry suits dry e-cigarettes ear spaces elearning electrolyte imbalance electroytes emergency action plans emergency assessment emergency training environmentally friendly equalising equalizing exposure injuries eyes fEMAL DIVERS fire rescue fitnes flexible tubing frediving freedivers gas bubble gas poisoning gastric acid gene expression health heartburn histidine hospital humidity immersion and bubble formation immersion pulmonary edema (IPE informal education isopropyl alcohol jaundice join DAN knee laparoscopic surgery longevity lower stress malaise marielife marine pathogens medical issues medical procedures medical risk assesment medications mental challenge mental preparedness micro-organisims micro minor illness mucous membranes multilineage dysplasia myelodysplasia nasal steroids nasal near drowning nematocysts neurological newdivers nitrogen bubbles off-gassed operating theatre operations orthopeadic otitis media outgas pain perforation phillippines phrenic nerve physical challenges pinched nerves plasters pneumoperitoneum polyester-TPU polyether-TPU post dive posture prescription mask preserve prevention proper equalization psychoactive pulmonary barotrauma. pulmonary injury. pulmunary barotrauma radiation rebreather mask rebreathers retinal detachment risk areas safety stops saturation scissors scuba equipment scuba single use sinus infections smoking snorkeling. spearfishing sterilising stings strength sub-aquatic sunscreen lotion swimmers ears tattoo care tecnical diver thermal protection tissue damage toxicity training trimix unified standards upwelling vision impaired vomiting warmers water quality zinc oxide